Cockfighting in Echague Isabela

COCKFIGHTING or sabong has a long and storied tradition in Philippine Community life. Sabong antedates the country’s colonization by the Spaniards, and has always been our people’s premier form of recreation.

In recent times, sabong has even measured social status – and catapulted many – most of whom buffoons, gamblers, gangsters, business cheats and their ilks  – to political power.

They are now present-day governors, congressmen and mayors.

Most of them know nothing about governance – except to PLUNDER their IRAs/PDAFs thru falsification of voucher documents and akin activities.

No exception.

Anyway, one of my treasured memories as a young man was watching my late paternal grandfather wear his best attire during Sundays, not to hear mass but to report to the local cockpit.

The lingering impression is that cockfighting is a form of gambling. It has, thus, been traditionally perceived to be morally sore, and a bad influence to the people, especially the youth.

Which is why the religious and ecclesiastics have always been preaching against cockfighting since time immemorial.
My elementary teachers have unfailingly pounded in my ‘virgin’ mind the miserable and perilous life sabong could ultimately lead one to.

But perhaps it was in recognition of sabong’s unique, if special, influence in national culture and tradition, that  our  Supreme Court, in a recent (2009) landmark decision, declared that sabong’s MORALITY – or lack of it –  is NOT  a justiciable issue. Meaning, it is not within the ambit of judicial inquiry and determination.

Be that as it may, cockfighting needed to be regulated, pursuant to the State’s taxing and police powers.

Under PD 449 or “The Cockfighting Law of 1974”, the power to issue/grant FRANCHISE for the establishment, operation and maintenance of cockpits in municipalities and cities was vested in the Philippine Game-fowl Commission.
(TO BE CONTINUED)-Alex ‘Rapido’ Almario


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